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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 June, 2005, 06:04 GMT 07:04 UK
Lonely Welsh seek help in dating
woman and laptop generic
Busy professionals often turn to online dating
More and more people in Wales are turning to dating agencies and lonely hearts' columns, and online sites to find love.

A BBC Wales investigation reveals that in Wales one in five people have sought help to find a partner.

The Week In Week Out programme's survey found that of 3m people in Wales, 45% are single.

The lengths to which they go to find a date are revealed on BBC One Wales on Tuesday, 14 June, at 2235 BST.

To help researchers with their investigation, Week In Week Out enlisted the help of two "guinea pigs", Chris Seal from Cardiff and Anna Gardner from Newport.

The two agreed to advertise their love for sale by having huge posters of their faces plastered on a billboard on a busy street in Newport.

Tuesday's programme reveals the level of success they had.

The programme questioned 800 people and also called on dating expert Henry Enos, a lecturer at the University of Glamorgan, to analyse the results. He says employing outside help to look for a partner is nothing new.

"Around the mid 1700s there were the first newspaper adverts of dating, and in America, the early 1800s," he said.

"We've had forms of mediated dating historically through all cultures, that was formalised, or match-makers. Today people are just using modern dating methods, and using media to mediate their dating experiences."

couple kissing
Sometimes romance needs a little help

According to the survey, more than 20% of the population in Wales have used some form of mediated dating so, chances are, everyone knows someone - maybe a family member, a neighbour, or a friend - who has used one of these methods.

With those questioned for the programme, the most popular way of meeting a potential partner was through a blind date, followed by online dating and speed dating as equal second, then newspaper adverts.

The programme asks why increasing numbers of people are turning to outside help to find a partner.

It found the main reason is having a busy lifestyle, the idea has been recommended to them, they lack confidence, feel shy, or lived in a too small a community.

Clive Worth from Pontyates, Llanelli, tells the programme he has had his share of success since receiving help.

"I'd never had so many women wanting to meet me," he said.

"All of a sudden I had about 30-odd women wanting to meet me. I was never short of dates and the dates started flooding in. Within five years I've had over 300 dates."

Week In Week Out also looks at another feature of modern life - long-distance relationships sparked off via the internet.

Richie Jenkins and Diane Donaldson from Newport first met online three years ago. Ritchie flew all the way to Canada to meet Diane, who was living in Canada at the time.

They fell in love, she moved to Wales, and they have been together ever since.

Dating in the dark
11 Sep 03 |  London
Singles line up for speed dating
17 Feb 04 |  North West Wales
Looking for fast love?
17 Feb 04 |  Hampshire/Dorset

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